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Home > Books & Reviews > Pagan > Which Witch is Which? Search

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Book Review:
Which Witch is Which?: A Concise Guide To Wiccan And Neo-Pagan Paths And Traditions


Author: Patricia Telesco
Trade Paperback, 256 pages
Publisher: New Page Books
Publication date: 2004
List: US$13.99, C$19.95
ISBN: 1564147541
Price & More Info: Click Here

I had begun research for such a book many, many years ago. It was nice to see someone beat me to the punch. The 57 traditions listed in this book do not represent the totality of the neo-Pagan experience. No single book could do it justice. There are a few (about 5) traditions I was completely unaware of, and some I am aware of that didn't make the cut, for whatever reason.

On a personal level, I wish Ms. Telesco had included a copy of the "Advanced Bonewits Cult Danger Evaluation Frame" issued by Isaac Bonewits. It is a valuable tool for evaluating groups in terms of level of control. While most neo-Pagan traditions would score low on the evaluation, it never hurts to check out the particular group you wish to interact with.

The first 36 pages of this book provide a bit of groundwork before you begin walking a neo-Pagan path. Please take the time to read them, even if you are, like me, already committed to a life of neo-Paganism. While Ms. Telesco doesn't say anything earth-shattering in these pages, she does offer advice that everyone can benefit from.

A couple of the traditions she included (Cybeline and Mi'nerwen) immediately raised cautionary flags in my mind. Both of them claim extensive, hitherto undocumented, existences. While I am sure there are some groups which have had such existences, I have been exposed to far too many groups which claim "ancient lineages", and which have turned out to have been brought into existence within the lifetimes of the "current" leadership. I don't say that this is the case with these particular groups, but I would be very careful of such claims, personally.

While this book is a good start, I would like to see further volumes, especially considering the number of neo-Pagan and Wiccan traditions in existence at the start of the 21st century. I would also like to see a similar volume (or more) covering some of the traditions which have faded from view already, lest their memory pass into the realm of myth and legend.

While there are flaws with this book, it is a valuable addition to any neo-Pagan's library. It will be especially valuable to those who are searching for an overview of the community. While almost all of this information is available at (Witches Voice), this book is an excellent resource for those who either don't have Internet access at a particular moment, or to help narrow down the potential information overload which may be experienced while traveling the world-wide web.

Reviewed by Mike Gleason

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